I recently signed up for the “meals ministry” at church, which provides families with meals after the birth of a baby, the death of a loved one, surgery, or during other difficult and/or stressful times. I love to cook, so it’s a ministry I would enjoy, making it an easy way to boost our family’s generosity.
But we are super busy! Between after school enrichment programs, sports practices, team gymnastics, and all of the other life commitments that come up, some nights I feel like I barely have time to make a meal for my own family…unless I’ve meal planned of course!
One of the easiest ways I’ve learned to cook for others is to pick meals that are easy to make “side by side.” This means that I put two pots on the stove and cook dinner for my family and for a friend’s at the same time.
Here is one of my favorites. It’s one of those recipes that Recipe Swagger adapted from Mrs. Schwartz’s Kitchen, who adapted it from a pin she found, and I’m sure the list goes on. Check out either of their sites for their renditions. I usually follow Recipe Swagger because I like sun dried tomatoes. If you don’t, head over to Mrs. Schwartz’s Kitchen where she uses tomato paste instead.
Here’s a sneak peak at the process.
I start out by chopping my sun dried tomatoes. I chop what I’ll need for both pots all in one batch.
I get the tomatoes and garlic sautéing in both pots. Notice that I went a little heavy in my batch and a little light on the other. That’s because I know my friend doesn’t love sun dried tomatoes the way I do. I love the flexibility of cooking!
Next, I add in my seasonings and tomato paste. I stir that up to combine in. When I add in my half and half, I switch to a whisk so I can break up any clumps of the tomato paste. Then this mixture comes up to a simmer.
Once simmering, I add the tortellini. The two pack from Costco is the perfect for doubling this recipe. I think the packages are bigger than the 9oz. package called for in the recipe, but I just go with it. In the past, I have also added cooked turkey sausage at this point.
Let those pots of goodness simmer until the tortellini are cooked through. It only takes a few minutes and you’ll notice that the tortellini start to float up to the top. So fast, and so good!
Be generous with your time, cook up a generous portion, and share it with a friend.